Air NZ to buy 14 new Airbus A320s

Last updated 07:38 02/06/2014

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Air New Zealand has inked a deal for 14 new Airbus planes, worth $1.6 billion, to fly its trans-Tasman routes.

The order, which is for 13 Airbus A320neo (new engine option) and larger A321neo planes, and an additional A320, will keep the airline competitive flying across the Tasman and around the Pacific, CEO Christopher Luxon said.

Although passengers may not notice a difference in design and layout to the current A320 fleet which fly domestic, and short-haul routes, Luxon said the A320neo offered fuel savings of up to 15 per cent and would save the national carrier $1.9m on fuel a year.

"That's fantastic for an airline like us, because it just means we can continue to keep pressure on fares," he said.

Air New Zealand was believed to have received a discount on the list price of the aircraft. The actual price paid was not revealed.

Airbus already has 2,700 orders for A320neo models from 50 airlines around the globe. 

Luxon said the order shows Air New Zealand was confident it would grow its present 50 per cent market share on the route to Australia.

"We've been doing very well on the Tasman, against our competitors and these new planes gives us a few more options," he said.

The A321neo has an extra 38 seats which allowed for a business class cabin and Luxon said that was a possibility on routes from Auckland to Sydney or Melbourne.

The announcement was made at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) AGM in Doha on Sunday.

The first A321neo is due in late 2017 with the rest delivered at intervals through until 2019. The additional A320 for the domestic fleet will be delivered early next year.

The announcement comes just weeks before Air New Zealand will collect its new, long-delayed Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which Luxon said would be ready early July.

Josh Martin travelled to Doha courtesy of IATA.

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